Each month, The Kentucky Explorer magazine receives literally scores of letters from our faithful readers. Whenever possible, we try to publish as many of them as possible in the 12 pages we have set aside for "Letters to the Editor."
Here are actual letters from our March 2002 issue:
We Have A Lot In Common
I just finished reading every page of The Kentucky Explorer, and I love it!
I was born near Renfro Valley, Kentucky, and moved to Indiana in 1940. I'm now 71 years old and still consider myself a Kentuckian.
I'd like to see more stories and photos on Rockcastle County.
I love history, and I think it is amazing just how much we all have in common.
Eva R. Hays
"Seed" Or "Sorghum Beer"
I look forward to each issue of The Kentucky Explorer. It's a great magazine. I have been a subscriber for several years and read each issue from cover to cover.
I enjoy reading the history, especially stories about growing up in the 1940s and 1950s. I remember the games we played and the experiences of growing up in the country.
I would like information about a drink that my grandparents made while I was a kid. They called it "seed beer" or "sorghum beer." It was made in a gallon glass jug, which contained what they called "seeds" and water. They poured off the liquid to drink and left the "seeds" in the jug, from which to make more.
The older people I've asked about it remember the drink, but not how the "seeds" were started or what was added to the jug, when it was refilled with water. Some think the "seeds" were started from sorghum juice; and a spoon of molasses was added to the water, when the jug was refilled.
My parents and grandparents passed away many years ago, so it's now too late to ask them the many questions that I have. Maybe some of your readers remember this drink from years ago. Any information would be appreciated.
Also, in the letters to The Kentucky Explorer section, in almost every issue, I read about greasy beans. What is a greasy bean? Are these beans called by other names? Are they a green bean to break or a bean to shell?
I had never heard of a greasy bean, until I started reading The Kentucky Explorer. Perhaps someone might part with five or six seeds, so I might grow some. I would be glad to send postage, a stamped envelope, and pay for the seeds.
More On November 2001 Cover Photo
I have studied the cover of the November 2001 issue, and I really enjoy this photo. It was taken in Lebanon, Kentucky, probably closer to 1920 than 1912, judging by the model of the truck. The building in the background is the U. S. Post Office, which was built around 1910. Further information about this post office is available.
I believe the gentleman in the shirt leaning against the truck was my uncle, J. Ruel Spragens. He was a local farmer and businessman, who for many years operated Spragens Hardware on Main Street.
Immediately to his left, in the coat and tie, I believe was Frank E. Westerfield. Frank was a telegraph operator for the L&N Railroad. This main line, built about 1859, ran from Lebanon Junction to Corbin, at that time. It was very important during the Civil War and was the object of several attacks by Confederate General John Hunt Morgan and his raiders. The railroad tracks have since been taken up from New Haven to Corbin.
The Marion County Library has a genealogy room and a nice museum from which much of this material is available. Interested persons may contact the library at: 201 E. Main Street, Lebanon, KY 40033; or call the librarian at 270/692-4698.
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